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Faux techniques are very popular here at PCC, and first-time contributor Susan Fadl has shared a different approach to faux opals - Australian Opals! This different look will add a new faux item to your "bag of tricks!"

Materials

  • Premo clay - small amounts of black and a 1" cube transparent with bleach will make several opals
  • Metal foils for the dark opals (I like 'Fashion Flakes' purchased on line from AddictedToRubberStamps.com)
  • Metallic powder pigments (I prefer 'Moon Glow', 'Powdered Pearl' and 'Powdered Opals' as the colors are much richer. Available from the same place)
  • Liquid Transparent Sculpey for white opals
  • Diamond Flecto Varathane Varnish available on line from www.polymerclayexpress.com
  • I have also used glitter, sticky hologram paper, iridescent inks - raid your supplies, many things will work.
Equipment
  • Small paintbrush
  • Toothpicks
  • Tile or other flat surface for baking
  • Sandpaper
  • Needle or Pin
Directions for White Opals
  1. Make a flat base the size you want your finished opal to be. I use my fingers, but about #1 on a pasta machine is about right. For the white opals only, it may be slightly rounded in the middle but not as much as a normal cabochon.
  2. Using a toothpick, sprinkle tiny amounts on the metallic powders on the base. Touch lightly with your finger to blend. Lift and turn over to remove any excess powder (save for another use).
  3. With Liquid Transparent Sculpey drizzle thin lines about an 1/8th of an inch apart across your opal base. Smooth with a brush. Sprinkle more of the metallic powder pigments on top of the LTS. You can spread these a little bit with the brush, but do not overwork or you'll end up with mud.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes at 275 degrees. Drop immediately into ice water if possible to increase transparency.
  5. Sand if necessary to remove excess powder or rough spots.
  6. Brush with Flecto Varathane, and sprinkle with metallic powder. Bake and drop in ice water. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you are satisfied with your jewel, ending with a coat of Flecto Varathane. Because white opals need to be translucent, limit the number of layers you add to two or three.

Directions for Black Opals

  1. Make a flat base for your opal, about the thickness of #1 on a pasta machine.
  2. Make a collage of pieces of colored metal foils or other non transparent shiny materials on the base.
  3. Roll a scrap of white with bleached transparent Premo to a #6 on your pasta machine and cut out a piece a little bigger than your base. Holding it on the tips of your fingers gently stretch it thinner in the center, working all around. If it gets a small hole, press the edges together and try again. This may take a few tries to get the right feel. If it is too difficult, roll the thinnest sheet you can on your machine.
  4. Put this on top of your base and cut it of about 3/16ths of an inch away all the way around. pick up your base and press the transparent clay carefully to the back. It will not stick to the foil or metallic powder. If there are any air bubbles - and there probably are so its a good idea to do it anyway, prick in several places with a pin or needle - these hole will be covered by the following layers.
  5. Put on another layer of metal foil, metallic powder or other materials leaving some of the clay open so you will be able to see through it to the base after baking.
  6. Bake 10-15 minutes at 275 degrees. Drop immediately in ice water if possible to increase transparency.
  7. Sand if necessary to remove excess material or rough spots.
  8. Brush with Flecto Varathane and sprinkle with metallic powder or add small pieces of foil or other materials. Remember to keep larger areas of the surface open so that you can see into and through the surface.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 leaving larger open areas with each layer until you are satisfied with your jewel, ending with a coat of Flecto Varathane. Dark Opals don't have to be translucent so they can have as many layers as you want. Some of mine probably have 12 to 15 layers, although I must admit that I wasn't counting.
Examples (Click Pictures for a Larger View)

Detail
Suggestions: Opals come in more colors, color combinations, and variations than I ever dreamed possible. I strongly recommend a visit to OPALS WORLD WIDE. They may not be the largest site, but they have great photographs of a myriad of opals to dream about. When I entered 'opals' on my search engine I got over 75,000 listings. What fun I'll have searching - and spending dream dollars!

Susan Fadl
©2003 Text and Designs

We'd like to thank Susan for sharing this wonderful lesson with PCC. If you have a lesson or tutorial or project that you would like to share with PCC, just email or and we will help you prepare your project for the PCC Website.


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